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New reading challenge: 32 owned, unread books

A bookshelf chock full of books arranged mostly in rainbow order. In the center of the bookshelf is a Sonos.
What my bookshelf looked like in January 2022. Not to worry, this is not all unread books.

I have a lot of unread books on my shelves. Believe it or not, I’ve downsized quite a bit over the years, but it still stresses me out to have that physical backlog just a glance away.

It’s not like this for everyone: for some, having plenty unread books at hand gives them a feeling of abundance. I mentioned my unread book guilt to my book club friends, and they looked at me like I had 8 heads. Noted!

For me, though, I would love to get to a place where I have a short queue of unread books, maybe 3–5 of them. If I want something new to read, the library or a book store is easily available to me.

The reading challenge

Rather than setting an “x number of books read” goal in 2023, I’m challenging myself to read or downsize 32 owned, unread books.

A few parameters:

  • I’m going to start now.
  • It can take however long it takes…
  • …but, I would like to have read or downsized 24 books by end of 2023.
  • I don’t have to finish every book I start. If I’m not feeling it, and don’t particularly care to pick the book back up again, I can donate or sell it.

A reward

I’ve decided for once to treat myself when I complete the challenge. There’s a fancy fountain pen I have my eye on, in a higher price bracket than the $30 pens I’ve allowed myself to buy. That is the reward I’ll be working towards! In addition to a more spacious bookshelf.

Wish me luck!

I’m going to start this challenge off with “Heart Berries” by Terese Marie Mailhot (disclosure), then finish up the first volume of Lord of the Rings.

What are your active or upcoming reading goals?


  1. Disclosure: I’m an affiliate of Any purchases you make using my link will earn me (and local bookstores!) a small commission.


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